News

Drones Help Stadium Networks

  • September 26, 2016

Tailgating, touchdowns, and… drones? We’re expanding our drone program to help put our networks to the test on the gridiron.

We introduced the use of drones for cell tower inspections a few months ago. And just this last month we added a new wrinkle. We’re now testing drone use at stadiums to help improve our Distributed Antenna System (DAS) networks. But, we’re not using just any drone to do this.

We’ve told you about our self-engineered EchoBOT technology and our drone programbefore. Well, we’ve merged these technologies by loading ECHO software on drones to track in-stadium networks.

The “Echo Drone” can take key measurements on network performance and feed them in near-real-time to our engineers. It also helps us conduct inspections and tests more quickly and safely. We’re even able to access parts of stadiums that humans can’t reach without special equipment.

Without a drone, the testing process can take up to 5 days. Our engineers must walk up and down the entire stadium taking measurements. With an Echo Drone, AT&T can shorten this process to just 1 day.

This week, we’re also launching our national drone program. After months of trials and testing, we’re now officially making the use of drones available on our network to inspect cell towers, test DAS and more.

Beyond drones, we’ve worked hard to boost our in-stadium network experience this off-season. We’ve completed more than 40 major network upgrades at pro and college football venues by adding capacity to our network. And we’re not done yet. We have even more upgrades planned for stadiums this fall.

Adding capacity is like adding more lanes to our network highway so cellular traffic can flow faster and more smoothly. We’ve now deployed on a DAS at every pro football stadium and at more than 60 college stadiums.

With the season underway, we’re already seeing the impact of our upgrades. Fans are flooding stadiums and sharing all the action with friends and family. In fact, fans used nearly 40 terabytes of mobile data on our network during the opening weeks of the college and pro football seasons combined. That’s equal to 110 million sideline selfies.

Strong wireless connectivity at stadiums matters and we’re using innovative technology to get the job done. Drones, EchoBOTs and DAS are just 3 of the tools in our next-gen network toolkit helping us provide a better wireless experience for football fans across the country.